End Times 2 - This is a special sermon with the election coming up
Has this year's election cycle given you grief? What is a Christian to do? We are being told that everything hinges on voting for this candidate or not voting for that one. But trust in mortal human beings is misplaced. God is forever the one whom we can trust, no matter who is in the leadership positions of our nation.
You might think that the transfiguration of Jesus would be the time to talk about all the visible successes of the Church. But what is topic on the tongues of Moses, Elijah, and our Christ that day? They are discussing Christ's departure that is coming up at Jerusalem. They are talking about His death. Yet this is the Church's greatest glory, that God has loved them so.
Some people try to deflect hearing what God says in his Word with a quick, "that's just your interpretation." Why would we believe that the God of salvation didn't want to be perfectly clear in the single source r our salvation? The real question is whether or not we will put aside all preconceived notions and simply listen to what God has to say. And if we find a disagreement, let us not expect God to be the one to change.
Description Click here for the written copy.
God says that the position of an overseer is a noble task. Why? The answer is found in what the Church truly is, and how God maintains and watches over that Church. Beware that we think that "church" is a building or an institution. When we see it for what it is, we will want to pray for pastors as they humbly carry out this noble task.
On Good Shepherd Sunday, we hear about shepherds that serve under the Good Shepherd, Jesus. Pastors and ministers serve God's flock. They do so by leading people to and showing them the greatness of Christ. Let them lead you there.
How odd that millions of people gather for "Thanksgiving," and they have no idea to whom they should give thanks. We Christians know, and want to share the secret that we have. But to be thankful, we must also learn to be content. How do we do that? This is Paul's Thanksgiving secret that he has learned, and wants to share with us.
John the Baptist may have drawn some attention over what he ate and wore, but Scripture prophesies his coming by simply calling him "a voice." So we are drawn, not so much to look, but to listen. And what message does he share? It is a message of pure comfort, brought to us by our Savior God.
We often see the tender scene of Christmas, centered around a manger with people lovingly looking on. John's Revelation shows Christmas from God's persepctive, with Satan (the dragon) drooling at the opportunity to destroy this child. In these signs of Revelation, though, we see signs of God's love for us, that he would risk so much in order to save us.
This Sermon was prepared for the series, "Joyful Generosity." Minor revisions were made.
We are always chasing "just a little bit more." Why? We believe the lie that we never have enough, that God never gives us enough. But our God gives to us out of the abundance of his grace and his own generosity. Grace is where our joyful generosity begins.
Many have wondered where our trouble and sorrows come from. Are they from the things that God has given to us? Not at all. Rather, it is the abuse of such things that is evil. Let us recognize and set all things apart as good and holy, guided by God's Word to use them well, receiving them with thanks and prayer.
When one goes to war, he will take with him the best weapons in his arsenal. But when Christ comes to do battle, the Bible says he "emptied" himself. On this glorious Palm Sunday, we celebrate. But what do we celebrate? A man riding on a donkey? To humble himself was the only way that Christ go undergo death. He came perfectly prepared. We prepare for what comes - not only his death, but his grave. It is empty!
We fear all sorts of falling. The worst, though, is falling from grace. Through neglect of the Gospel and the sacraments, our faith can whither and die. Be careful that you don't fall! But rather than trying to find strength in our own hearts to forever hold on, instead always look to God, who is always faithful. He can hold you and defend you, no matter what attacks come your way. In him, we can stand firm forever.
Whom do you want to be like? We imitate people we think of as heroes. Is anyone greater than our God? We are not supposed to try to takes God's place, but he does want us to be like him in two ways - in love, and in forgiveness.
If we could push a button and have the Lord return in an instant, would we push it? But there is no button. Until then, we must be patient, for the Lord's return cannot be rush. How can we be patient? Learn from the farmer, who waits for the rains and waits for his crops. Be patient with one another, encouraging each other as we wait and watch for the Lord.
Do we really have that much to brag and boast about? The Apostle Paul is driven to boasting about the things he suffered for Christ in order to defend the message he brought. But he masterfully switches things around, and shows that these things really highlight his weaknesses. God's power, however, shines through when we are weak. Let us boast about that.
Can a valley of dry bones live? They can, if God gives them their life. It's more than simply finding skin and flesh again. They must have breath in them. The Spirit of God gives us life that is more than superficial. When we were dead in our trespasses and sins, God is not content to merely have us look Christian. He gives us the Holy Spirit, and in faith, we truly live.
The world has its standard of what success looks like. But without the Lord, it is all nothing. Moses could have been king one day. Instead, he followed the Lord's call. What is caling you away from the Lord? As we walk by faith, we see that our reward comes later, given graciously and freely by our God.
Our Mighty Lord has a history of doing things differently than we or the world would expect. Why are some going to heaven? Is it because they were so good, so smart, or so powerful? Is it because of a birthright? No! Over and over again, God proves that the reason of our salvation rests solely within him. He gets all the credit. It is by mercy, and by mercy alone.
Easter is no joke. The resurrection of Jesus is not some small teaching to be tucked in the corner. Without it, Christians would in fact be the most pitiful people of all. But since Christ is raised, what does that mean? Listen to what hope we have, for now and forever.
What makes a religion a good and true religion? There are many who think that it can be reduced to teaching people how to be nice. But salvation must first be about salvation - and there is no salvation apart from Christ. God is quite clear: every other religion without Christ is darkness. Though it may look like Christianity in some ways, but they leave all their followers in darkness.
Is there a limit for how long or how far we will stay in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How bad would things have to be for us to say, "That's too far. That's too much?" When we consider what the Gospel is, our answer must be "never!" Let us continue in the Word of God, no matter what it may bring in this life, because, since we know it is God's Word, we know what it brings us in the next.
Jesus' parable about the wicked tenants killing the master's son doesn't leave much doubt what Jesus is talking about. The leaders of Israel have killed God's prophets in the past, and now they plot to kill the Son of God. They will get what they deserve. But know this: through His death, we find an escape from death.
There are many ideas of what the Last Day will be like. Is it a day when all our sins will be paraded before the universe? No, it will not be a day of shame, for Christ's righteousness covers our unrighteousness. Instead, it will be a day of joy and dancing, freed from all of our guilt and shame. Rejoice to see that day!
This sermon is from a series called, "Repent: Turn to Jesus." Judas followed the slippery slope of sin as greed gripped his heart. What seems so harmless to many became the snare that led to the betrayal of Jesus Himself. We must learn this lesson well: turning toward sin is turning away from Jesus. Do not turn away! Turn toward Him for the forgiveness and solution that sin can never give.
What's the worst thing you've ever lost? Imagine being one of those women on Easter morning. They lost Jesus! That brought them fear. But they were soon invited to cast their fear aside. For the soldiers and all who stand opposed to God, nothing but fear can remain. But for us in Christ, don't be afraid! It's Easter!
Do you remember that time Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with two stone tablets in his hands? No, not that time. The other time. The second time. He face was glowing with glory. On Transfiguration Day, our Savior's appearance changed as well. What does it all mean? As we learn, one thing is for sure - don't ignore the glory from the mountain.
You've heard it said, "Don't shoot the messenger." Why not? It never changes the message. The people of Israel shout to Jeremiah the prophet, "You must die!" But can they kill the message? Let us repent for the times we think that we are merely dealing with a "preacher" or a "church" when they speak something we don't like, when in truth, it is God's own message. Rather, let our hearts be open to his Word, and accept it for what it is.
Don't we know? The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God! Paul's list is long and his message is clear. These things bar us from God's heavenly home. But, we were washed! But, we were sanctified! But, we were justified! God's grace has saved us from the punishment for these sins and allows us to fight against those sins daily. Let us live according to what we know.
The Holy Spirit comes to the disciples. And what for? Is everything now to be radically different from when Jesus walked among us? The work of the Holy Spirit is to point us again and again to Christ. Easter is not over!